Mumbai is the birthplace of Bollywood. As an ode to this integral part of our every day lives, the graphic designer and artist Ranjit Dahiya started the Bollywood Art Project. The Bollywood Art Project uses the truck-art style of painting with enamel paints and works on street murals commemorating the golden age of Bollywood and the biggest stars in it. The artist is singlehandedly changing the image of the streets of Mumbai. If anyone thought Mumbai couldn’t get more Bollywood these artist is proving them wrong.
Dahiya started his painting journey when he was very young with helping his uncle whitewash houses. He slowly graduated from that to painting on boards, walls and trucks which helped him earn a little extra money. He gained his formal training in art from Chandigarh’s Government College of Arts and a degree in Fine Arts from the reputed National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
The idea for B.A.P started with a chance meeting with a France-based artist during the Wall Art Project in Mumbai. This led him to La Rochelle, France where he painted a mural of ‘Sarkar Raj’ in Paris. When he came to Bombay in 2008 he was surprised that Bollywood that was an integral part of the identity of the city didn’t have the visual presence it deserved. This is when he decided to do something about it and the Bollywood Art Project came to life. Mr Dahiya had his muse, the shining stars of Bollywood, but he still didn’t have a canvas. After much thought, he realised, what better place the suburban housing Bollywood royalty, Bandra. Following are a list of the top 12 colossal tributes that Bollywood needed.
Madhubala as Anarkali
The mural of Anarkali and her lover was the start of the Bollywood Art Project. The artist was taking a casual stroll down Chapel Road in April 2012 when chaced upon a house. He knocked on the door with a strange request of borrowing a wall and the woman agreed not knowing what the request would yield, the woman agreed. That very evening he began preparing for the 23-feet-high Wall Mural. The painting capturing the symbol of eternal love, Anarkali stands there proud even today.
Amitabh Bachchan, as Vijay Verma from Deewar
A journey down Pereira road and you will find yourself face to face with the angry young man himself. This Deewar is decorated with a strong image of Vijay waiting to dual Peter. The painting manages to capture the exact emotion of Amitabh Bachchan and you can almost find yourself reminiscing the rest of this cult classic.
In 2012 after the news of Rajesh Khanna’s demise. The Bollywood lover was left with a heavy heart and the desire to pay respect to this legend. So, he built him a memorial the only way he knew how to, by painting him. The still he takes inspiration from is the movie Andaaz. The mural manages to encapsulate the essence of the actor and gives his fans an opportunity to see him and relive his great acting moments on a daily basis.
This big yellow building is unmissable and on it is painted, the father of Indian cinema himself. This 126 ft high and 159 ft wide MTNL building with Dadasaheb Phalke is a sight that remains with you long after you pass it. Painting a mural this big is not an easy task but Ranjith is not one to shy away from a challenge. Converting the broken and windowed surface into the beauty that we see today is a herculean task that the artist managed to finish within 10 days with the help of three assisting artists.
This wall mural is based on a lesser-known movie of this mind-blowing actor, Manjhi – The Mountain Man. The movie is a contemporary biopic of a man from Bihar who breaks through a huge mountain with a chisel, hammer and determination. This mural is a little different from the other works by BAP and has a more modern painting style as opposed to the general truck-art style.
Who can imagine a Hindi movie without a villain? There are hundreds of antagonists over the years who have had an impact on our hearts. This tribute to Amrish Puri is a 20×20 mural Mogambo mid his infamous dialogue “Mogambo khush hua” filling our hearts with absolute joy.
Madhubala As Herself
Madhubala is till date considered the epitome of beauty and grace. She was one of the most talented artists Bollywood has witnessed. As the idea for etching her beauty came to the artist’s mind, he went back to the site where he had begun his journey. Bollywood’s lady heartthrob now stands 25 feet tall drawing fans from everywhere. The owner of the house says she leaves her curtains open in order to see the joy on the faces of the fans who come to visit her.
This wall mural came as a response to a fan request. The still for this art is inspired by the movie Taxi Driver and is the perfect homage to the Builder of Bollywood. His evergreen performance is beautifully captured in this artwork.
Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu from Gopi
This was the 18th mural by the BAP and it shows the oldest couple of Bollywood. On the wall of Rizvi Chambers stands a beautiful still from the movie Gopi (1970). This was a painting that Ranjit always had on the back of his mind and creating it was quite the challenge.
Amitabh Bachchan from Bemisal
This towering image of Bachchan is the country’s tallest mural in blue and yellow. This 230 feet tall captures the angry young Indian image perfectly. This was painted as a tribute on the 75th birthday of the actor with the curator of the project Abhishek Singh. It is titled ‘Bachchan Bemisal Pure 75 Saal’.
This artwork came a week after the unexpected demise of the actor. The site for the work is not far from where the actor used to live. The actor’s enigmatic and illustrious image is beautifully captured in this mural based on a photograph. The colours used are an accurate representation of the light that the actor’s innumerable movies are going to exude in his absence. Equipped with masks and paintbrushes, Ranjit Dahiya and Vikas Bansal managed to immortalise this loved figure.
Marking her 55th birth anniversary the B.A.P painted this exquisite still of the late actor’s look from the movie Gurudev (1993). This art is a beautiful reminder of the legacy of the actor.